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Mutual fund pioneer says his Trump endorsement is about one thing

Rex Sinquefield

Multimillionaire financier Rex Sinquefield, a pioneer in index fund investing, says there’s one reason to vote for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump—his tax policy.

“What Trump is proposing is the right thing: a massive reduction in taxes. He’ll get the same results as John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush,” Sinquefield, 72, said in an interview with Yahoo Finance.

Sinquefield—the co-founder of Dimensional Fund Advisors, which oversees more than $350 billion in assets—is among 100 business leaders who signed an open letter supporting Trump.

He called the last seven-and-a-half years under President Barack Obama “the worst economic recovery in America’s history,” pointing out that private domestic investment has been incredibly low. He blamed this on “huge tax increases” passed in the early years of the Obama Administration. Specifically, he pointed to the increase in capital gains from 15% to 20% and an increase in the top bracket income tax from 35% to 39.6%. He also called out the 3.8% tax on investment income in the Affordable Care Act.

“Many investments are no longer attractive,” he said. “New investments are not made.”

This is why he praises Trump’s proposals to cut capital gains and personal income taxes.

“They’re what we need to correct the abysmal decisions made by Obama and the Democrats,” he said.

Sinquefield warned that a Clinton presidency would just be a continuation of Obama’s tax policies.

“It’s good for everyone all around,” he reiterated said about Trump’s tax platform. “More people will be working. There will be less on welfare.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Fort Myers, Florida, U.S. September 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Trump’s other ideas are ‘fairly bad’

Other than the tax proposals, Sinquefield characterized Trump’s other proposals as “fairly bad.”

He highlighted Trump’s trade policy as an example. Sinquefield added that Trump’s “very restrictive” foreign trade policy would never happen with the Republicans in Congress, and it would “never become law.”

“He’s proposing some not very good ideas in foreign trade. He has incredibly good fiscal policy. His tax policy—that overrides everything else. Nothing else compares in importance to that.”

Trump’s ‘character flaw’

Currently, a Clinton presidency looks more certain as Trump’s campaign has taken a hit in recent weeks with questions being raised about his conduct, particularly in regards to his treatment of women.

When asked how to persuade voters to look past the video from 2005 and subsequent allegations of inappropriate touching by multiple women, Sinquefield was unsure how Trump could overcome these personal issues.

“Even in the Republican primaries, I said this guy has a character flaw—an unbridled need to insult someone, which is really unfortunate.”

Sinquefield believes that what Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton did to women was “far worse.”

“She brutally targeted and tormented his victims, all women. Unbelievable. What she did was far worse—really trying to destroy these people.”

Another issue that’s been raised surrounding Trump’s candidacy is whether or not he paid federal income taxes. The New York Times published a few pages from Trump’s 1995 tax returns that suggested he may not have paid for 18 years due to a $916 million loss he claimed that year.

Sinquefield said the issue over Trump’s taxes is just “trivial importance” compared to his fiscal policy.

A stock market guru-turned-mega donor

A well-known mega-donor in Missouri, Sinquefield didn’t start supporting Trump until after the real estate businessman secured the Republican nomination. During the primaries, Sinquefield was sure that Trump wouldn’t last and that he would “implode in a heartbeat.” His first choice was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. His second choice was Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Sinquefield was raised in an orphanage in St. Louis. He first got interested in politics back in high school, reading Bill Buckley’s “Up From Liberalism” and Barry Goldwater’s “Conscience of a Conservative.”

Rex Sinquefield (left)

He graduated from Saint Louis University and earned his MBA from the University of Chicago. While at the University of Chicago, he studied under Eugene Fama, the “father of the efficient market hypothesis.”  After graduate school, he helped launch the first index funds in 1972.

Sinquefield retired in 2005, returning to his home state of Missouri. He co-founded the Show-Me Institute, a free-market think tank. He’s also a big supporter of Let Voters Decide. He also co-authored a book called An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States, which he described as a go-to book for evidence regarding the effects of tax policy on the performance of states.

“It’s driven by evidence. The same thing that drove me to start index funds is that markets work well and it’s impossible to beat them. You’re better off trying to buy the whole market. You will get market returns, they’re for the taking. It’s all evidence-driven. It’s the same with tax policy.”

He said his views on taxes have nothing to do with the fact he’s achieved financial success. For Sinquefield, tax policy is the “one big issue” this election.

“Tax policy is going to drive everything. It’s what’s determined the last 7 years of dreadful economic performance.”

He’s not counting out a Trump victory just yet either.

“A lot can happen in the last weeks,” he said, noting that when Reagan ran against Jimmy Carter he was trailing in the final week.

And if Trump isn’t successful, Sinquefield has also expressed his admiration for Trump’s vice president pick, Indiana Governor Mike Pence.

“If Trump doesn’t win, it wouldn’t surprise me seeing Pence getting the ticket four years from now. He’s a great guy, very smart, with all the personal characteristics — deep moral character, devoutly religious, and really understands economic and public policy.”


Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance
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